If you plan on eating those Easter eggs after you’ve dyed them, pay attention to how you cook them, says a K-State food safety expert.
Londa Nwadike, who works at K-State’s Olathe campus, offers these tips on how to keep bacteria out of your Easter goodies.
“When you’re boiling the eggs and then dying them, make sure the eggs are not out of the refrigerator for more than two hours,” Nwadike said.
“You want to keep them at refrigeration temperature as much as possible.”
That means don’t let the eggs dry on the counter overnight. Also, make sure you are using food-safe dye if you plan on eating the colored eggs. Another common mistake to avoid is putting the cooked eggs back in the original egg carton.
“If you’re going to be dying eggs and you want to eat them afterwards, you’ll want to make sure that you’re storing them in a separate container than the original egg carton,” Nwadike said. “Raw eggs are potentially dirty, and putting your clean eggs back in the old container could contaminate the outside of your already clean eggs.”
Be sure to eat the eggs within seven days of when they were boiled and let your kids know that if they find a hidden egg after Easter, they should probably throw it away.
“It’s a good idea to educate your kids that if they do find a hardboiled egg that’s been outside for a while, it’s not safe to eat,” Nwadike said.
If you’re planning on cooking a ham or other large portion of meat, Nwadike advises using a thermometer to make sure the meat reaches a safe cooking temperature. Also, portion out your leftovers instead of putting the whole ham into the refrigerator.
“It’s definitely a best practice to make sure you’re cutting it into smaller, serving-size pieces because it will cool faster and ensure that bacteria doesn’t have a chance to grow in the temperature danger zone,” Nwadike said.